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Former AC Milan European Cup winner Salvatori passes away

22:54 GMT+3 01/11/2017
Franco Baresi Milan
News that the former midfielder had passed on was greeted with sadness by former club Hearts, who recalled a star turn against Rangers

Italian football was sent into mourning on Wednesday with the news that former AC Milan player Stefano Salvatori had passed away at the age of 49. 

Salvatori started his career with the Rossoneri and moved back to the club for the 1989-90 season, during which he played a part in their successful European Cup campaign. 

Adept at playing in defence or midfield, he went on to represent a host of Italian teams over the course of his career, including Parma, Fiorentina, Atalanta and SPAL

After retirement he moved to Australia, where he lived for several years working with academies and schools of excellence in Brisbane and Sydney.

The cause of Salvatori's death is yet to be made public.

Scottish club Hearts, where Salvatori also played in the 1990s, released a touching tribute to their former player on the side's official website. 

"It is with great sadness that we have to advise of the death of Stefano Salvatori who has passed away at the tragically early age of 49," the statement read.

"A great character in the Hearts team of the late 1990s, Stefano will always be remembered as a key-man in that great side that brought the Scottish Cup back to Tynecastle Park after a period of forty-two years.

"On that day, he stood tall during Rangers’ late onslaught in the Final and this will never be forgotten by the Hearts supporters in attendance, and those watching on television throughout the world. 

"Stefano was undoubtedly a competitive and hard working ball-winner, who was an expert at breaking-up the opposition moves and holding possession. Nevertheless, the rugged Italian midfielder was also able to play precision passes and accordingly, he was a vital part of the Hearts engine room. In addition, Stefano added a wealth of experience of football at the highest level.

"Stefano had so much more to give to football and his death is a great shock. Our sincere condolences are extended to his family and friends."